A walk in the coastal rains

If you didn't know, coastal rains are mighty heavy. At times, they could be really scary even indoors, much less providing comfort to drive, and even lesser to ride a bike. There was a time, however, when in my sheer madness, I rode a bike from Bangalore to Honnavara during monsoon, brushing the coast Mangalore onwards and daring the coastal rains from Kundapura, that too at night! Of course, I've aged now and seldom get the enthusiasm to weather the weather on the highway! Last weekend, I'd fun driving in the ghat rains, heavy, washing away almost everything small on the roads; why I say small is because recently I moved from my small presence on the highway to a juggernaut of a vehicle: The Tata Sierra! Old habits die hard and when I'm on the roads, I remain as a tiny myself; this time that wasn't necessary, since I wasn't on the roads, but *we* were, the one with me making the we being the helluva SUV. :) Enough self-acclaimed boasting, I digress.

Today, I left the Sierra for some major pending works to “tame” it from its crooked roughness to original wildness and took a walk back in the same coastal rains, on the same coastal roads. Apart from wanting to enjoy the walk and surroundings, I wanted to avoid the torturous, back-breaking (literally), tempo journey. The initial drizzle gave a happy feeling, letting me watch the beautiful greens around. I haven't walked this stretch in a good weather earlier, most of the year being hot and humid. By the way, this is the only season when I feel like settling down near the coast. Of course, other than the monsoon is wet too, but the wetness then is pure perspiration, nothing else. Today was different; it was a drizzle threatening to turn into a downpour soon.

Barring the continuously moving heavy vehicles, picking the rain water off the tar and throwing onto you, on one of the busiest national highways I've seen, namely the NH-17, the walk was a pleasure. I was moving the umbrella sideways from the perpendicular to avoid the truck-tyre-shower bathing me again and again. But soon the threat came true and down came the rains the way it rains here. Except for the reading of time from the clock, most of the monsoon, it would be difficult to sense the time of day, the sun shining oddly near the twilight, after a completely dark and cloudy day. Well exaggerated? Be it so. And so it rained and the umbrella was soon protecting only my head (not that there's much to protect!). Funnily enough, when its pouring like that, you don't mind the trucks and buses showering ya. Its also fun to forget about your getting drenched and instead enjoy the joke on the fools motorbiking with an umbrella in one hand and speeding away, accelerating with the other. Some may call it daring, but I call it stupidity and utter disrespect for people and vehicles on the roads. More than that, its total ignorance towards coastal rains, that maketh the rules and breaketh the lives of those driving! I suppose it wouldn't be unfair if you accord the coastal rains more or less the same respect during a drive as you would to Himalayas during a trek.

Half the distance back home, my clothes were neatly washed. Then the rain seemed to die away and give the sun some job to do from his back seat lazying presence. My clothes decided to drip till the sun shone fully, marking the approach of noon, and then on, dry themselves the other half of the way back. However, when you're almost completely drenched, its not comfortable to slowly dry back during the walk; you prefer the rains instead. Else, its foolish to keep the umbrella open when the sun is shining, unless of course you're so very bent to keep your "fairness" from fading away. But if you close your umbrella, the head that you protected in the rains that passed is open to get wet from the showers off the tree branches and not to forget off-the-tar spray of passing vehicles. So the umbrella preferably reopens.

Meanwhile the clothes have become muddy and sticky, partially dry and you're no longer enjoying the walk fully. This is only because you're not completely dry or completely wet, wanting a digital world against the slow analogue drying! Since there's nothing you can do about it, except to pray for rains, you go back to enjoying the greenery, trying to imagine the view from the houses you pass by, comparing which one is better. The mind starts its breakaway journey into staying indoors watching the rains from the balcony and windows, building castles to have those balconies, windows and terraces, sipping soup or tea. Hah! by the time you return to reality, you're home, among people you know, who watch you and comment, actualizing a forced landing to a social order of not walking in the rains and taking care to stay healthy! :D


Quite often I speak of desires, making one possessive of things and people, and how they are hurdles in the spiritual path. With such thinking, one usually concludes that being desireless is the goal. During the recent satsanga, one point came back to mind that even when one becomes desireless, the task doesn't end into chitta shuddhi all by itself. To draw a parallel, if one thinks he's got a clean slate in the waking state considering the action-word-thought trio, he can't be so sure unless his dream state is equally clean! Working through this analogue, if some passion during waking state is termed as a desire, that during the dream state- resting to resurface as desire- is a tendency. This selfsame behaviour of a tendency poses a threat of make-believe desireless state, which can *unknowingly* popup anytime and fructify into full-fledged desire! Many of us misunderstand such a state as shuddha chitta and it turns out as a major pitfall in sAdhana.

Tendencies are the roots if desires are the trunk of the tree of individuality/ creation. Chopping down the entire tree into desirelessness is a futile end if the roots are still present. Some of them may not grow into a tree again, but they still are holding onto the ground, binding one into the world.

But more appropriately, the tendencies go further than the root-analogy; they are factually the seeds of creation, since they run not into dream alone, but into deep-sleep! nityapralaya of an individual is no different than pralaya of entire creation, in that the vAsanas or tendencies are stored away in seed form to grow into the creation during the next cycle. Its just that the individual's creation starts on the jIva moving into dream and waking states from deep sleep. Without tendencies, there can be no creative desire and working towards the end of desirelessness is meaningless. One had rather die bodily and mentally, effortlessly, than work hard to conquer desires and stop there! Only a mumukshu will truly take to the end of uprooting the tendencies and burning the seeds so that not even a sprout of desire breaks open! Working towards this noblest and highest of goals needs watching oneself even during the dream, literally as our regular phraseology goes "... not even in my wildest dreams... ".

om tat sat

Jump away

Jump, jump when you can
Don't postpone it, man!
You too are meant to go over
Its no time to be slower
Pace is called for now
Ain't a question of how
Else you have to scale the ridge
And then build a bridge
To avoid the jump in old age
Regretting the past with rage

Even if they don't agree
Its surely not a decree
You're born in freedom
Don't you die in boredom
Write the slavery off
It isn't that tough

Thoughts 92-93

92: Jump across when you're on the run; you can't do so when you're still.

93: (Corollary) Postponing a long jump needs one to take many steps backwards!

Middle path meddled again

There's infinite grace out there that keeps on pulling you like a magnet at various intervals, most so when you're in great trouble, sAdhanA-wise. Its just like your Guru saying "Don't worry, I'm around, no matter what". The sad part is balancing the middle-path act. As it is things aren't getting any better with a place to settle down. To add to that pain, people want me to to take to one path or the other, but not both. What I want, I don't have the approval and blessings for. What they want, I couldn't care any lesser about. Now there are new set of them, who want me on the other side! These new set of people care a lot for my sAdhana, not that there weren't any earlier, but now the number has increased. Others seem to think that I want to be on the banks opposite to the sAdhakA's; opining that I want to get into grihastA's shoes! Thats quite contrary to what I'm targeting. However, I'm trying to develop a passion to keep me among the worldly, but not too much passion to cross the river across to the wrong side. My idea of passion is a hobby... such as learning music or teaching stuff (I think) I know; trekking, funding it with some earnings, some investments; gardening for a bit; an expensive hobby like driving a car, owning it; or photography; blah blah... I think you get the drift. If you don't, here's more clarity: a hobby that takes a chunk of time off my sAdhana, but doesn't involve me much with more people than "necessary"; all these also mean things I can *give up* anytime without any broken or held-back commitments. sAdhana goes in ups and downs due to these newfound habits and thats precisely what I want to do, keeping the surface outlook going up and down, while the undercurrent becoming strongly spiritual. However, this approach has its own grave losses.

Now for the whining on the losses; stop reading right here and skip this para, if you can't take it please. When I was ready to get into complete seclusion for intense sAdhana, I didn't get the right place. Now that I've taken a back seat on a middle path, developing newer interests to the happiness of all that are concerned with my "worldly" life, the ones concerned with my sAdhana are offering me great opportunities for spiritual upthrust, possibly for a sudden recovery of lost years. Of course, as usual, I've been driven incapable to take a bold decision to that effect, since I want to keep my family and friends happy with being in the world. I do know that I may even be blaming them for my incapability to factually jump ahead, but I can never be sure. The reason is understood better with some example... say, I'm like the cow that thinks that if she's untied , she would go out into the hills to graze, but she'd never know unless she's really let free. Its a funny life for her. Its a funny life for me. :)

Flashback: nearly a year and a half back, I bought a piece of village land to pursue my middle path in all seriousness. It turned out a joke just like all my pursuals so far. :) There wasn't much ego out there and thats why I was able to walk off the legal hassles with ease. Its like my Guru carried me out of it. Around the same time, even earlier to my getting myself into that land nonsense, I'd an interesting offer to get into seclusion. That was some place that I wanted to go, but couldn't till a few months back. Then too the middle path raised its hood again and warned me of my "commitments". Hah! Even so, things were totally different out there. I was at home right from the moment. Immense power of Guru's presence spoke unto me. It showered grace with an invitation to follow things the way I intend to. Hmm, I thought, and that was about it. The thought had, for some reason, vanished into the background for a long time. It resurfaced only during my visit few months back. This person, after our introduction and biographic background, made an extremely valid observation to my mind, almost a conclusive one at that! I confess that I'd come only close to it from another angle, but never did it occur in the clarity that he showed. It had to be Guru's grace, undoubtedly. I'll try to put the essence of that chat between Vishwanath (V) and me in a transcript:

V: You underwent so many problems on so many fronts in such a short time. Don't you think its for a good reason?
me: Yes, it is. Its all Guru anugraha working, my prArabdha is getting cleansed, rather washed away.
V: But don't you think that you're not destined to buy a piece of land, stay at Sagara and settle down there with a house?
me: Hmm... perhaps so. I don't know, only time will tell. kAlAya tasmai namaH.
Even the job you took recently didn't work well for you. It just occured to me that all these are indications that you're meant to join an ashram instead.
me: It looks like that, doesn't it? I'm not in a position to take that decision. In fact, I've stopped taking any decision since a while now. I go with the flow. However, I'm commited to my parents and they do not want me to join an ashram.
V: But its not working for you; what can you do?
me: Well...

[I went on with my boring middle path purANa :) concluding with possibility of hopping places and ashrams, but not joining any, or staying longer with saMnyAsis during cAturmAsa, but thats about it. None of that has happened yet... life passes by!]

Unscientific or unvedic?

Many times we hear the argument from the moderners that goes that the Vedas and Vedanta are invalid since they are unscientific! But that's usually what you get when you compare apples and oranges; the domains of science and Vedas are entirely different, although science is moving close towards Vedanta. I'd like to use an example to show whats actually happening out here. Suppose you have a friend visit you who comes from a totally different geography and background. Do you think he's going to feel at home with your way of living? I guess not. But then, if he goes ahead and says that your way of living is "wrong" or invalid since it makes no sense from his way of living. I take this argument further when applied to science coming into analyze Vedas and assert that Vedas are invalid since its unscientific. Note that Vedas existed beginninglessly before science started to walk. So from the domain of Vedas, science is to be rejected since its unvedic, not the other way round!

It sure does sound foolish for a scientist when such a statement is made, but the only other way to reconcile Vedas for scientists is to put it that Vedas are science, still unknown! In other words, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. :)